Vita Ethiopia took part in this latest afforestation initiative by the Green Legacy Campaign
On Monday, July 29th, Ethiopians came together to plant more than 350 million trees, thereby fulfilling the country’s pledge to break the world record previously held by India. India had succeeded in planting 66 million trees, outdoing its own 2016 world record of 50 million.
The Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture announced on Friday that more than 200 million tree seedlings had been successfully distributed throughout the country to make Monday’s tree planting project a success. Most of the trees planted were indigenous species, the ministry noted.
The 350 million trees planted across the country in a mere 12 hours is part of Ethiopia’s larger afforestation scheme which aims to plant 4 billion trees over a one-year period. So far, over 3.5 billion trees have been planted, with these saplings expected to boost Ethiopia’s depleting forest coverage by one percent.
The project was launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as part of Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Campaign. While we globally grow more conscious of the harmful effect of carbon emissions on global warming and climate conditions, it is countries like Ethiopia who are feeling the true impact of it most. Though the least responsible for climate change – a huge part of which is caused by carbon emissions – it, along with many other developing nations, is facing increasing weather extremes and deforestation that cause drought, flooding, and a health crisis for citizens. This tree-planting campaign is a step towards redressing the balance, and has been broadly welcomed by the UN and other international leaders.
Vita Ethiopia’s staff members participated in the campaign by planting more than 100 indigenous trees. As afforestation forms a part of many of our livelihood-building programmes, our team were well-versed in getting their hands dirty! Vita Country Director Ato Asfaw Mekuria said, “It is a big privilege for us to be involved in this massive tree plantation. It is one of Vita’s progammes. As you know, we have been working on the Vita Green Impact fund for the last 12 years. Vita means ‘Ways of Life’ and a tree has life and it stands for life.”
Witnessing first-hand the effects of deforestation in recent years, Ato Asfaw welcomes government attempts to replenish denuded forests. “This initiative is critical for Ethiopia which has lost billions of trees and forest resources over the years for reasons such as firewood, charcoal, building and animal feed, which caused enduring forest degradation and climate change.” We were thrilled to be a part of this national effort and look forward to seeing more like it in the near future. Getting out and getting our hands dirty is further proof of just how big a change we all can have when we come together with a shared purpose. So get out, get dirty, and get planting!